Devonte’ Graham emerged from the Kansas locker room with his cell phone, sheepishly making his way up to the man in the dark ballcap and black Under Armour pullover.
“Big fan,” he said, walking up to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. “Can I get a Snapchat?”
After getting a few seconds of video selfie time, Graham started to walk away when Romo reached out and lightly punched him in the left shoulder.
“Hey,” he said in a serious tone. “Go do it in the tournament now.”
Romo, along with Dallas tight end Jason Witten, made sure to get outside the locker room to congratulate No. 1 KU following its 86-56 basketball victory over 23rd-ranked Texas on Monday night at Erwin Center.
“He was sitting right next to us courtside. I just told him, ‘You’re my boy!’ He pointed back at me,” Graham said with a smile. “I saw him after the game, and I just had to go get a video.”
It also was a thrill for KU coach Bill Self, who also grew up a Dallas Cowboys fans while living in Oklahoma. Romo shook his hand outside the locker room, ribbing the coach in the process: “Did you need to play the starters with a minute and a half left?”
“Those guys, they acted like they knew me,” Self said with a grin. “That was pretty cool. God, Witten’s big, isn’t he?”
There was plenty of reason for celebration, as KU won the outright Big 12 regular-season basketball crown for the third straight season. Eight of the Jayhawks’ 12 straight league titles have been claimed without a tie.
It was a rout from the beginning.
Late in the first half, a scream came from the top of the student section, a Texas student who already knew what was coming next. KU forward Perry Ellis received a pass on the wing, and before he could even start his move, the yell was loud enough it could be heard on the court.
“Retire!” the desperate fan exclaimed.
No, the “Perry Ellis is old” joke didn’t work. Then again, nothing did against KU.
Ellis took three dribbles right to the baseline, then pivoted back left, taking two steps before curling in a jump-hook over Texas center Prince Ibeh — one of the best shot-blockers in the Big 12.
It was Ellis’ 15th point on 7-for-8 shooting, a brilliant first-half effort in a game that was supposed to pay tribute to six Longhorns seniors.
In the end, Texas fans left with little to celebrate other than it also was a Senior Night of sorts for Ellis, who never would be able to torment the Longhorns in the building again.
Of course, Ellis showing off his offensive repertoire — he finished with 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting — was only part of KU’s most complete game of the season.
The Jayhawks set the tone early with defense, contesting shots inside with a ferocity not shown most of the season. Landen Lucas, who entered the game with 13 blocks all season, rejected five shots in the first 10 minutes.
Texas, meanwhile, missed its first 14 field goals — including 13 two-pointers — as KU jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first 6 1/2 minutes.
“We made them take tough shots, and they missed tough shots,” Graham said. “We contested every shot and played our butts off on defense.”
The Jayhawks opened up a 47-23 halftime advantage, and the first-half statsheet reflected the domination. KU made 66 percent of its shots, which included 6 of 8 three-pointers.
Texas, meanwhile, made only 8 of 29 first-half twos (28 percent), as KU continued its string of solid defensive outings inside.
The Jayhawks, who won their 10th straight game, have allowed opponents to shoot only 41 percent from two-point range in Big 12 play. Not only did that number lead the conference, but it also was a comfortable margin over second-place Oklahoma (45 percent).
The onslaught continued in the second half, highlighted by a did-you-just-see-that moment from Jamari Traylor. On a 2-on-1 break, Graham lofted a pass for Traylor, who crowdsurfed on Texas’ Eric Davis and leaped so high that he threw down the alley-oop before ducking to keep his head from ramming into the rim.
“He put his elbow in the rim. He was up there,” Self said. “That was a big-time play.”
Texas, 19-11 and 10-7 in the Big 12, fell to 3-1 against AP top 10 opponents at home this season.
KU, 26-4 and 14-3 in the Big 12, will play host to Iowa State at 3 p.m. Saturday on Senior Day.
Graham didn’t hesitate after Monday's game. Even before heading to the press conference, he posted the video with Romo to his Snapchat account.
“Definitely one of the coolest things,” Graham said, “to meet the starting quarterback for the football team that I love.”